shadow factory metaverse
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Looking back on it today, the pandemic was a testbed for alternative modes of working. It has helped push forth ideas of flexible working hours and the four-day work week.

With proof that such methods can be effective, working nine-to-five has stopped being the norm. In fact, for recent university graduates, that concept may be wholly unfamiliar. 

Companies – motivated by a variety of reasons, from saving rental costs to boosting employee morale – have pursued alternative work modes even with the world up and running post-COVID. Some are actively looking to refine the work-from-home (WFH) experience and bring back the intangibles which have been lost along the way. 

Pre-pandemic, few people would feel comfortable jumping on a video call and would spend hours traveling across continents to meet business partners. Today, it feels much less disruptive to jump on a video call than to meet in person.

– Roger DeLeon, Managing Director, Shadow Factory

For example, the creative ideas stemming from water-cooler chats or impromptu brainstorms – these aren’t easy to recreate with everyone working individually. Calls have to be scheduled in advance, lunch breaks are spent with friends and family instead of colleagues, and all in all, there’s little time for informal work conversations. 

The metaverse might offer a potential solution to this problem. Through interactive environments and personal avatars, companies could replicate the in-person experience without forcing employees to commute to work. 

The world’s first work-from-metaverse policy

Shadow Factory – a creative studio dabbling in Web3, AR, VR, and gaming – claims to be the first company in the world to adopt a work-from-metaverse (WFM) policy. As of this April, its employees are free to work from a virtual 3D environment, modelled in the form of an office space. 

It’s a fitting move from a company which has its own metaverse-as-a-service platform, Lucid, allowing other brands and individuals to create their own unique worlds. Shadow Factory demonstrates its commitment to metaverse technology while encouraging innovation in the workplace. 

roger deleon shadow factory
Roger DeLeon is the Managing Director of Shadow Factory / Image Credits: Shadow Factory

“We are excited to offer our employees the opportunity to work from the metaverse, which will enable us to stay ahead of frontier technology and provide our customers with the best solutions,” says Managing Director Roger DeLeon. 

The company believes that this will have a positive impact on productivity and enhance collaboration among team members. While in the metaverse, employees can control their avatars and converse with one another as they would in the real world. There’s a greater feeling of presence and immersion as compared to using traditional texting apps. 

“By collaborating more effectively with our global team in the metaverse and encouraging innovation in our business, we believe this initiative will unlock new levels of creativity and productivity,” DeLeon adds.

Bridging the gap

Working from the metaverse brings together the best of traditional and remote work. Employees enjoy the flexibility of staying at home and avoiding a commute, while also enjoying a sense of belonging within their team. 

The metaverse facilitates an environment which makes it more easier to focus on the task at hand.

With traditional remote work, employees would often use five – sometimes up to 10 – different programs for communication, collaboration, documentation, and execution. Being able to collate all the required functions within [our metaverse] allows teams to perform more effectively.

– Roger DeLeon, Managing Director, Shadow Factory
shadow factory
An avatar in Shadow Factory’s metaverse workplace / Image Credits: Shadow Factory

Aesthetics – such as the setting of the virtual environment – might seem trivial, but they can contribute to a more desirable workplace. The metaverse allows for gamified tasks and customised workspaces, all of which can aid employee efficiency.

So far, Shadow Factory has received a positive response from the employees who have tested its WFM concept. DeLeon believes that such initiatives will be widely adopted in the future and its use-cases are only evolving.

“As hardware advances and users become more comfortable with virtual reality and augmented reality tools, we may see an increasing number of companies and individuals adopting the metaverse to work, learn, and socialise.” 

Is the metaverse a perfect solution?

Although its benefits are apparent, there are still ways to go before the metaverse becomes an ideal solution.

For example, metaverse meetings are a step up from traditional video conferences, however they aren’t quite as seamless as in-person meetings would be. Nuances such as body languages aren’t as easily captured even with the use of virtual avatars. 

shadow factory metaverse
Image Credits: Shadow Factory

As a result, Shadow Factory still has its physical offices open and acknowledges the need for people to meet physically. The WFM policy is a supplement and a way to support those who prefer alternative modes of working.

In the future – with the development of VR technology – the metaverse experience may be further refined.

“Currently, our metaverse platform is largely desktop, but VR connectivity is in development,” says DeLeon. “With this come other challenges, largely due to hardware limitations. But these are challenges that we happily embrace and look forward to tackling.”

Featured Image Credit: Shadow Factory

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)